Reader Mike Hannah send some photos from the Land of Kiwis and notes (indented):
I understand that you are visiting New Zealand next year – so I have attached three photos of endemic species to whet your appetite. All the pictures were taken in an urban sanctuary called Zealandia situated in the suburbs of Wellington. It’s a great place to visit and people whose homes back onto the predator-proof fence that surrounds the park are treated to the calls of wild Kiwi at night.
Kereru, the New Zealand Pigeon (Hemiphaga novaeseelandiae)– a big bird with an unfortunately small head. But its plumage is beautiful.
Kakariki, a New Zealand parakeet – this species is the red-crowned parakeet (Cyanoramphus novaezelandiae):
Tuatara, the famous non lizard – the last ryncocephalian, Sphenodon punctatus . I was told that this is a young one about 7 years old. I understand (but I may be wrong) that the Tuatara in the sanctuary are all the result of the breeding program at Victoria University where I work.
As an aside, Tuatara is the also the name of an excellent craft beer brewery in Wellington.
Reader Christopher Moss documents the continuing efforts of squirrels to get access to his bird feeder. He says this:
The birds are getting to much food, so they are attempting a little redistribution of wealth. Perhaps that’s why they are red squirrels!
And one beautiful moth photo from reader Simon Lawson:
I was taken with the post by Greg on the snake mimicking spider and posted a comment here.
Attached is the photo of the Atlas Moth (Archaeoattacus staudingeri) I referenced in that comment as another potential snake mimic. Not sure what the model candidate would be, but there may be herpetologist readers of the site who could have a stab.
JAC: Simon is presumably referring to the pattern of the round curved tips of the forewings (see photos at bottom):
That impeachable fount of biology information, The Daily Mail, suggests that the Atlas moth is mimicking a cobra: